A non-governmental organization, Gamble Alert has expressed worry over the increasing spate of underage gambling in Nigeria.
To this end, Gamble Alert has partnered the Association of Nigerian Bookmakers (ANB) and BetWinner, to sensitize school children on the dangers of underage gambling.
This is as the organization has also said that it would sensitize parents through different media channels on the need to educate their wards on the worrying trend.
Speaking during a sensitization programme held at the Birrel Avenue Senior High School, Yaba, Lagos, a representative of Gamble Alert Bernadette Onokpegu noted that there is a \”very high percentage of children trying to gamble and make quick money\”
Onokpegu describe it as a \’very dangerous\’ trend, considering the age of those involved.
According to her, the organization has been to other states like Oyo and Osun sensitizing school children and discouraging them from gambling, just as there are plans to take the sensitization to other schools and communities in Lagos State.
On her part, Bimpe Akingba, the Executive Secretary of the the umbrella body for sports betting operators in Nigeria, the Association of Nigerian Bookmakers, said the Bookmakers are aware of the threats that underage gambling pose to the society, and they are ready to collaborate with stakeholders to tackle it headlong.
She said \’as much as gaming is our business, we also know that young persons shouldn\’t be participating in that\’. \’We came here to sensitize the kids on the harms of gambling at such tender age\’
Akingba also used the medium to reiterate calls to members of the association to ensure that only people who are of age are allowed into bet shops.
Beyond sensitization for underage gamblers, the Association of Nigerian gamblers says it is also working hard to reduce addiction to sports betting.
\”Besides the underage, we are also working on those who are addicted to gambling to get out of their addiction\”
\”Betting on sporting activities should be fun and it is supposed to end at that. The moment you start having it at the back of your mind that betting is supposed to make you wealthy, or that you can multiply your money, then there is a problem\”
Others who spoke include Dr Olusola Adenikin, the Principal, Birrel Avenue Senior High School who attributed the increased the spate of underage gambling to peer pressure, called on parents to be closer to their children so that they can detect and discourage them from this act at a very early stage.
Adenikin commended Gamble Alert for such a brilliant initiative which she said would go along way in shaping the future of the coming generation.